Friday, November 12, 2010
The return of Winnie the Pooh
Walt Disney Animation Studios is returning the honey-loving teddy bear and his pals to their hand-drawn animated roots for a feature film dipping into cinemas in 2011.
The new Winnie the Pooh, the first big-screen Pooh adventure from Disney animators in more than 30 years, will more closely resemble the classic short films from the 1960s and '70s.
"We wanted to create a movie for the big screen that had the charm and wit of those original shorts," said Peter Del Vecho, the film's producer.
"What originally endeared all of us - adults and children - to these characters was that they were stuffed animals that came to life in the imagination of a child. We wanted to rekindle that imagination in a big way."
"You must be catching a cold," Pooh tells Owl in one scene.
"I'll probably catch it, too," Eeyore plaintively adds.
Pooh and company will forgo recent puppet-powered, computer-generated Disney Channel makeovers in favour of the old-fashioned illustrative style that places the silly bear and his friends among the pages of a storybook.
Jim Cummings (The Tigger Movie) returns as the voice of Pooh and Tigger, with John Cleese (Monty Python) serving as the narrator.
While this version of Pooh won't be generated by a computer or projected in 3-D, Del Vecho cautioned it wouldn't simply be a redux of past Pooh projects.
He said the film, spearheaded by Disney and Pixar animation chief John Lasseter, will feature five new original songs and a faster pace punctuated with humour that's appropriate for modern audiences.
"We're definitely resetting the franchise and using this film as the example to set for the studio," said Del Vecho.
"Many versions have been done, and it's been a way for the property to live on in children's minds, but we're hoping this is a new phase for Winnie the Pooh. It's a return to quality storytelling that's been absent in more recent projects."